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Pass the Line (1954 unsold television pilot)

Published 1954

Here's something so bad it makes "Queen for a Day" look like "Masterpiece Theatre". It is an unsold television pilot from 1954, for a game show called "Pass the Line" in which an artist slowly draws a picture in ten steps, and each step is copied by a panel of "celebrities" (one of which is Jonathan Winters!). At the end of the incredibly awful pilot, the host and some other guy directly speak to the networks telling them why they should pick up the series (easily the best part of the pilot).

Run time 27 minutes 17 seconds
Production Company Cliff Saber Productions
Audio/Visual sound, black and white


Reviewer: richgoup - - January 11, 2013
Subject: Pass The Line.
Original air date: 1954.
Cast: Cliff Saber (Host) and Jonathan Winters (Celebrity Guest).
The last few minutes of this pilot consist of the host and another person telling networks (and potentiel sponsors) why they should pick up the series.
From IMDB.
We can hear the sound of the cars outside in the street. Awful pilot.
Reviewer: WarioBarker - - October 27, 2012
Subject: Positives...?
* Jonathan Winters, then a 28-year-old New York nightclub stand-up comic, in an early TV role.
* The quality of the recording is above-average for something from a "smaller" company.
* The sales pitch near the end is hilarious in a bad way.

I'm a game show lover as well, but there's really no play-along element for the viewers -- it's just watching people copy lines of a drawing. Sure, it has the "shout at the TV" factor, but it's more along the lines of "This sucks!"
Reviewer: pauls son - - August 28, 2012
Subject: PTL
WOW! I'm a gameshow fanatic & this piece of tripe was possibly the WORST I've ever encountered. BTW, Joe MacCarthy, the piano guy was there to entertain the audience---there would have been one if this had been picked up by a network---while the game paused for station identifcation and/or commercials. Back in the olden days, every 15 minutes of a half hour show paused for S.I. to give the west coast a few minutes to 'pick up the feed' as most stations at that time only recorded 15 minutes at a time because lots of shows were only 15 minutes long. Shows were produced in the east & recorded at the same time to be shown 4 hrs. later in the west. That way a show could be advertised as beginning at 8 p.m. & be shown at 8 on both coasts.
Reviewer: Joe MacCarthy - - February 27, 2012
Subject: Compellingly bad
This program is so bad, like a car wreck, you can't help but feel compelled to watch it.

How to tell the show is bad:

The host realizes his creation is dying (while he's doing it). He constantly tries to speed up the "celebs"

There is no theme to the show. What does the guy playing the piano have to do with it.

Check out the attitude of the "studio audience"

The guy making the pitch to sponsors is so GREASY

The show is so bad even the dog walks out.
Reviewer: Karltonthedoorman - - February 23, 2012
Subject: Pass the Line
During the filming of this pilot, you can hear the sounds of the traffic outside of the "studio". Without any doubt this is the most interesting part of this show.